National Democrats may have abandoned Alison Lundergan Grimes in her fight to unseat Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell next month, but Bill Clinton isn’t giving up hope: The former president returns to the state Tuesday afternoon to campaign for Grimes in two rallies, his third visit since she won the Democratic primary earlier this year.
After spending more than $2 million for Grimes in Kentucky, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) last week chose to leave the candidate on her own as public surveys showed her trailing her Republican competitor. The decision signaled that national Democrats don’t think Grimes can defeat McConnell in next month’s midterm elections.
But the lead in the polls has changed hands several times. McConnell beat Grimes by eight points in a poll last month, after weeks of results that showed an essentially deadlocked race. A Grimes internal poll from last week, however, revealed the Democrat outpacing the incumbent by two points.
Clinton’s efforts to stump for the Democratic hopeful reveal his continued support. He will attend an event in Owensboro at 3 p.m. local time, and in Paducah at 7 p.m. local. He made his first appearance on her behalf in February, ahead of the state primary that Grimes later won by 37 percentage points. In August, Clinton visited the state again to address a crowd of supporters. And just last week, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined her husband in Louisville, where she warned voters that they will regret taking a victory for granted.
Unlike President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings in Kentucky continuously hover near 30%, the former commander-in-chief remains popular among residents in the mostly conservative state. Thousands of residents flocked to hear him speak during his past two appearances in the Bluegrass State. And both Clintons carried Kentucky in their respective presidential campaigns.
Clinton also made his 2014 campaign advertisement debut in Grimes’ recently televised spot. Grimes, who has attempted to portray herself as an independent, has used her association with the Clintons to distance herself from Obama as McConnell continues to try to tie her to the president. Grimes recently came under fire for refusing to share with an editorial board whether or not she voted for Obama in the last presidential election, despite serving as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Grimes is currently the Kentucky secretary of state and the youngest woman to fill that role in the country.
The Senate race remains extremely tight, just two weeks ahead of the Nov. 4 election in arguably the country’s most closely-watched competition this election cycle. With control of the Senate in jeopardy, the DSCC recently bought ads in Georgia and South Dakota, two conservative states where Democrats are competitive but trailing in most polls.